Photo of Lalita Udpa with two students.

We have two strong research groups in the area of security. The first is the built environment, such as structures and roads. The new Structural Fire Safety Research Lab is recognized both nationally and globally as a uniquely valuable resource within short order. In the information realm we are expanding the existing strong effort in information security (e.g., proving correctness of large, complex codes, and improving network security).

In the News

International award for Arun Ross

Advancing the science that recognizes people by their face, fingerprints, gait, and voice -- and protecting the privacy of those images -- have earned an international award for a faculty member in the Michigan State University College of Engineering.Arun Ross

Arun Ross, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at MSU, will receive the 2014 J.K. Aggarwal Prize from the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) in Sweden on Monday, Aug. 25. The prize is given to a scientist, under the age of 40, who has brought a substantial contribution and impact to the pattern recognition field.

The Aggarwal Prize acknowledges his research contributions on biometric fusion, fingerprint analysis, iris recognition and biometric privacy.

“Biometrics is a fascinating pattern recognition problem, and my students and I are fortunate to be working in a field that has direct societal benefits,” he explained.

Ross and his students are currently developing algorithms to perform robust face, fingerprint and iris recognition, including:

  • matching a face image obtained using a thermal camera against one from a regular digital camera;
  • protecting the privacy of face and fingerprint images that are stored in a database;
  • and “anti-spoofing” techniques for detecting a fake fingerprint or a cosmetically altered face.

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National forensic appointment

Anil Jain has been tapped to strengthen forensic science at the national level.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, have named Michigan State University’s Anil Jain among the first 17 appointments to the Forensic Science Standards Board.

The newly developed organization is dedicated to identifying and fostering development and adoption of standards and guidelines for the nation’s forensic science community. Jain, University Distinguished Professor of computer science and engineering, has extensive experience in biometric recognition, computer vision and fingerprint-matching technology.

"The appointments to the Forensic Science Standards Board essentially mark a transition from planning to doing," said NIST Acting Director Willie May. "After months of collaboration with the forensic science community, we are bringing to life this new organization that will have a positive impact on the practice of forensic science in the United States."

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Lalita Udpa in lab with studentsMSU and Boeing to use up to $4 million to create new sensors

Michigan State University College of Engineering and the Boeing Company have been awarded a contract worth up to $4 million from the U.S. Air Force to develop new designs of sensors that will better detect cracks in the second- and third-layers in airframe structures.

Lalita Udpa, professor of electrical and computer engineering in MSU’s College of Engineering, leads the effort to create a next generation of sensors that will identify aircraft structure that has been weakened by subsurface cracks and corrosion.

“Airplanes are made of multiple layers of aluminum that are held together by thousands of fasteners,” she said. “Cracks can develop at the fastener sites in areas of high stress.

“Our job is to develop and apply simulation models for the design of a sensor that can reliably detect cracks that are deep into the third layers in the presence of other complex edges and magnetic materials.”

Udpa said MSU was the Air Force Research Laboratory’s first choice as a research partner to work with Boeing.

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Street smarts: Monitors being created to watch for road, bridge defects

Assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering  Nizar Lajnef tests a sensor he and his team have developed that will monitor the integrity of roads and bridges. Photo by G.L. Kohuth. As the state of Michigan looks to improve its infrastructure -- roads and bridges -- a team of Michigan State University College of Engineering researchers think they may have one solution.  

Nizar Lajnef, an assistant professor of civil and environment engineering, and Shantanu Chakrabartty, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, are creating smart infrastructure sensors that are powered by the pavement and bridges they are designed to monitor.  

“We are working on sensors that extract their power from the vibration and strain of their environment,” Lajnef said. “There is no external source of power -- no batteries. They are completely self-powered.” 

Prototype work began as part of Lajnef’s doctoral research in 2008 at MSU. It has evolved into a national project with the U.S. Department of Transportation that has already generated one patent, three patent applications and three USDOT grants totaling $1.7 million, including $1.4 million of new funding. 

The goal: To create very small sensors that can self-diagnose damage and mechanical failure in pavements and bridges. 

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